15 Must Know Internet Safety Tips For Students
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Internet Safety Tips for Students
The surge in cybercrime underscores the growing significance of internet safety guidelines, especially tailored for students. In case you weren’t aware, according to Security Magazine, there’s a staggering rate of over 2,200 daily cyberattacks, which averages out to nearly one cyber assault striking every 39 seconds. To put this into perspective, it’s less time than the average duration it takes to share a selfie. Given the likelihood that you’re dedicating even more of your time to online activities, it’s imperative to know how to safeguard your device. Here, we present several recommendations to ensure your safety as you navigate the digital realm. For more in-depth insights, feel free to explore our compilation, ” 12 Must Know Facts About Cyber Security“.
15 Must Know Internet Safety Tips for Students
These are some of the ways students can stay safe on the internet.
#1. Be careful what you share
Imagine the internet as a vast room teeming with countless strangers, each potentially holding a role in your future as a friend, employer, or even the culprit who snags your phone from your denim pockets. Always bear in mind, the internet lacks a delete function. Once you divulge your address and personal situation, this information becomes accessible to anyone who cares to look. The same principle applies to an awkward selfie, a profanity, or an impolite remark. As a guiding principle, it’s wise to refrain from sharing anything online that you wouldn’t want your mother or a prospective boss to stumble upon.
#2. Check your privacy settings
Privacy preferences work in a manner akin to doors. You shut a door to exclude unwelcome visitors, or swing it open to admit them. Neglecting to ‘shut the door’ may grant marketers and malicious actors access to substantial insights regarding you – from your internet search patterns to your interactions on social media. While each online platform retains its unique characteristics, locating these options is typically possible beneath your profile emblem. As you undertake this task, be certain to ‘activate’ these protective measures. Many also propose the deactivation of geotagging. Geotagging, in essence, divulges your whereabouts (or lack thereof) at any given point in time.
#3. Browse with caution
Browsing resembles strolling about. Certain pathways are secure, while others pose risks. Cyber malefactors frequently lurk behind explicit or enticing material. You might assume that clicking is harmless, even if the destination is unfamiliar. However, an incautious click could unveil your private information or implant malicious software into your device. Therefore, it’s crucial to suppress the inclination to pursue unfamiliar links or engage with unknown senders.
#4. Use secure networks
The allure of tapping into public WiFi often stems from its cost-free nature, yet it’s not always a bastion of security. Protected networks usually come with a price, requiring a reciprocal transaction. This might entail agreeing to legal stipulations, creating an account, or entering a password. On the flip side, using unsecured networks opens you up to potential hacker threats. These individuals are bona fide agents who surveil network traffic in their bid to intercept your personal data. Should they succeed, they gain the ability to abscond with passwords, your bank card’s PIN, and even intricate credit card particulars.
#5. Ponder the Potential of a VPN
If you’re someone who relies on public WiFi while using a laptop, considering a VPN is paramount. A VPN, or virtual private network, has the capability to shroud your identity, information, and internet protocol (IP) address. By linking your device with an internet server, a VPN establishes an environment where your data remains inscrutable. This is achieved through the encryption of outgoing data, enhancing your overall privacy.
#6. Exercise Caution with Downloads
For the gaming enthusiasts out there, this piece of advice is tailor-made. The primary objective of cyber criminals revolves around deceiving users into downloading malware. Malware comprises programs or applications that harbor insidious viruses designed to pilfer your information. A dependable guideline to uphold is to refrain from downloading suspicious software or apps, especially if they don’t originate from a reputable, familiar source. In situations where you’re compelled to use a public computer, ensure the removal of any files you may have downloaded or saved.
#7. Make strong passwords
Our inclination often leans towards passwords that are simple to recollect. Regrettably, these weak passwords are equally susceptible to being divined by hackers. Strong passwords, however, function akin to robust locks on doors. On occasion, your device might propose a sturdy password. Typically, these entail intricate combinations of numbers, letters, and special characters. You can choose to adopt such a suggestion or emulate its complexity, subsequently safeguarding your passwords through the utilization of password management software, if that proves helpful. Nonetheless, it’s imperative to never save your passwords on websites you access through public computers. Additionally, always ensure you log out before departing from these websites.
#8. Look for https: when you shop online
Whenever your online shopping ventures entail credit card usage, it becomes paramount to verify the site’s security. You can ascertain this in one of two ways. Firstly, examine the site’s URL – a secure site will commence with ‘https:’ rather than ‘http:’ (with the ‘s’ signifying secure). Secondly, take notice of a padlock symbol. As an added measure, it’s worthwhile to peruse reviews to ascertain the site’s credibility.
#9. Think twice about accepting invites
In the last quarter of 2022, Facebook made a move against 1.3 billion fraudulent accounts, a decrease from the 1.5 billion tackled in the prior quarter. The social media giant managed to expunge a staggering count of around 2.2 billion counterfeit profiles during the initial quarter of 2019. These fabricated profiles serve as tools for malicious individuals to disseminate falsehoods and gain entry to your data. To steer clear of this peril, exercise prudence when it comes to accepting unsolicited invitations. Maintaining a judicious approach to your online social existence is just as crucial as it is in the offline realm.
#10. Enable Automatic Updates
The individuals crafting viruses and malware possess the know-how to distribute them effectively. As a result, it’s imperative to ensure that all your interconnected devices are equipped with up-to-date antivirus software, operating systems, and applications. This practice contributes an additional stratum of security, particularly due to the fact that newer iterations are often equipped to identify and eliminate emerging varieties of malware, viruses, and potential threats.
#11. Check all your statements
According to research from SpyCloud, a provider of Cybercrime Analytics (C2A), their research unveiled a staggering 721.5 million exposed credentials on the internet in 2022. This poses a significant concern as user accounts often house sensitive information such as your name, bank or credit card details, social insurance number, and phone number.
To maintain vigilance in the face of this threat, it’s advisable to regularly scrutinize all your financial statements to verify the legitimacy of all charges. Suspicious activities may initially manifest as inconspicuous, small charges. However, if left undetected, they can escalate into more substantial and troublesome issues.
#12. Keep a backup
For a student, few things rival the dread of investing time into a project only to lose all progress just before the deadline. To avert this nightmarish scenario, consider safeguarding your work by storing it on the cloud or an external hard drive. The concept of a cloud system entails a virtual architecture designed to house data. The majority of these systems come fortified with firewalls, antivirus software, monitoring capabilities, and host intrusion protection, ensuring an added layer of security for your valuable work.
#13. Protect against ransomware
Ransomware constitutes a breed of malicious software that executes a rather sinister tactic. It ensnares a victim’s computer or device data by locking and encrypting it, subsequently extorting a ransom in exchange for restoring access. Employing the strategies we’ve previously delineated serves as an effective defense against the clutches of ransomware, preventing it from seizing your data hostage. Additionally, it’s crucial to exercise vigilance concerning any email attachment that urges you to enable macros for content viewing. The activation of macros could pave the way for macro malware to infiltrate multiple files. In the realm of preventative measures, it’s wise to opt for the ‘delete’ option instead.
#14. Be a guest user
Data breaches hit businesses and retailers alike. According to Shape Security, retailers reported (in 2018) that 80 to 90% of their login activity was malicious. To stay safe when you shop, remain a guest user. This way, you don’t have to store personal data in the first place.
#15. Protect your devices too
One of the most straightforward pieces of internet security advice for students revolves around safeguarding your devices. This encompasses not only your smartphone, tablet, or laptop but also extends to your overall digital arsenal. While a cable lock does contribute an extra stratum of protection, it remains insufficient to thwart the possibility of your hardware being pilfered by a determined individual. Abandoning any of these items unattended in public spaces or within an unlocked dorm room stands as a well-established ‘no-go’ practice. Moreover, in scenarios where you find yourself compelled to leave something behind, ensure it’s out of plain sight.